Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Real Next Gen

After the cause célèbre that was the marketing campaign for Heavy Rain, developers and gamers alike may wonder just what defines the next gen, or where it is headed. Superb graphics? Novel game-mechanics? Plain innovation?

A game which has been compared to the afore-mentioned title, Alan Wake, is everything the former is not; rather Max Payne with a coat of paint. Many companies, such as the Raven Software/id Software pairing, are particularly guilty of rehashing games whose sole purpose is to shoot everything that moves.

Titles such as Portal and Mirror's Edge, both non-violent FPSs, have shown that the genre is capable of much more without being boring in the least. Even Batman: Arkham Asylum portrays a hero that, while powerful, does not kill his enemies.

Granted, LAN games such as the Unreal Tournament series or similar are a lot of fun, yet the problem arises when a series such as CoD: Modern Warfare, while no doubt immersive, is depicted as "realistic," whereas one like Operation Flashpoint gets little to no credit.

It has been pointed out in the past that gamers from the east have a differing taste from those of the west. Their culture is collectivist while ours is individualistic. Maybe absorbing part of their tradition does not hurt; certainly not in gaming.

Take the following older games, and consider how easily they would fit in the current generation; Cold Fear, Doom III, Riddick: EFBB, Half Life 2; the list goes on. Some of these games have been re-issued for newer consoles, in fact, given that technological advancements sometimes take years to develop.

"Western games have expanded in the true sense of action games," whereas Japanese consumers "prefer more storytelling, more detailed settings within the game, a more narrative kind of style often with anime mixed into it." - Hideo Kojima